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. it was clear by the microphones while george w. bush was talking. it played into a larger narrative into the campaigns. it re-inforced what the audience thought about the candidates. >> when gore sighed endlessly and moaned during the debate and we saw that on television, it just emphasized the idea that he was arrogant and condescending, something people were already concerned about. when nixon was sweating, there was some sense that he was already shifty and there was an anxiety in his soul as well as his body. >> that's what the question in this campaign is about. >> reporter: in a later debate that year gore appeared to invade the personal space of bush. >> i believe i can. >> reporter: a move which made him look awkward compared to his relaxed opponent. in 1992 george h.w. bush was caught twice by cameras glancing at his watch during a town hall debate with voters which reinforced the suggestion he was disengaged and uninterested. >> when something is as close as it is now a small shift may create a forward movement in one direction or another. that's why these debates become g
gone on to win after less-than-stellar first debate performances. ronald reagan in 1984, george w. bush in 2004. norah, charlie, gayle? >> bill plante, thank you. >>> also in denver, major garrett, national journalist white house correspondent. good morning. >> good morning. >> so, what does the romney campaign have to do now to take advantage of what everybody believes was a victory in the debate? >> well, charlie, there's a very simple answer to that, and two romney campaign officials told it to me before the debate started -- if this night works for us, our biggest challenge will be not dousing the flame we've set tonight, meaning they know that they've internally messed up advantages and advantageous moments mitt romney set for his campaign. so, they know now the most important thing between this debate and the next one is not to blow the momentum, to enhance it, blow on the fire and make it larger and not douse it. that's the biggest challenge the romney campaign faces. >> what's the challenge for the obama campaign? >> to bounce back. two very significant democrats i talked to las
it was the most tweeted about political event in u.s. history. ari fleischer, press secretary to george w. bush big bird needs to ask dora the explorer how she manages to survive without federal money. try it big bird. you'll be just fine. joan rivers attention pbs, if mitt romney fire big bird i'm ready to fill in. i've got the perfect outfit. president obama did not pounce directly during the debates but did thursday on the trail. >> when asked what he would actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending he said he would eliminate funding for public television. thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on big bird! it's about time. we didn't know that big bird was driving the federal deficit. >> reporter: last night, the late night show ss had fun with it, too. >> [ bleep ] fire big bird! >> reporter: for years, conservatives have accused pbs of having a liberal buy asias, arguing its federal funds aren't justified. >> we are clearly, as a country, facing such significant challenges. but to talk about pbs in budget issues to me is unbelievable. >> reporter:
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